Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
NOSCE TEIPSUM: look and spy,
Have you a friend so fond as I?
Have you a fault, to mankind known,
Not hidden unto eyes your own?
When airy castles you importune,
Down falling, by the breath of Fortune,
Did I e’er doubt you should inherit,
If Fortune’s wheel devolved on merit?
It was not so; for Fortune’s frown
Still perseveres to hold you down.
Then let us seek the cause, and view
What others say and others do.
Have we, like those in place, resigned
Our independency of mind?
Have we had scruples—and therefore
Practising morals, are we poor?
If such be our forlorn position,
Would Fortune mend the lorn condition?
On wealth if happiness were built,
Villains would compass it by guilt.
No: CRESCIT AMOR NUMMI—misers
Are not so heartwhole as are sizars.
Think, O John Gay!—and that’s myself—
Should Fortune make you her own elf,
Would that augment your happiness?
Or haply might she make it less?
Suppose yourself a wealthy heir
Of houses, lands, and income clear:
Your luxury might break all bounds
Of plate and table, steeds, and hounds.
Debts—debts of honour—lust of play—
Will waste a county’s wealth away;
And so your income clear may fail,
And end in exile or in jail.
Or were you raised to height of power,
Would that ameliorate an hour?
Would avarice and false applause
Weigh in the balance as two straws?
Defrauded nations, blinded kings,
Would they not, think you, leave their stings?
If happiness, then, be your aim
(I mean the true, not false of fame),
She nor in courts nor camps resides,
Nor in the lowly cottage bides;
Nor on the soil, nor on the wind;
She tenants only in the mind.
Wearied by toil, beneath the shade,
A rustic rested on his spade.
“This load of life, from year to year,”
He said, “is very hard to bear.
The dawning morning bids me up
To toil and labour till I sup!”
Jove heard, and answered him: “My friend,
Complaints that are unjust offend:
Speak out your griefs, if you repine
At any act or deed of mine.
If you can mend your state, instruct me;
I wish but knowledge to conduct me.”
So saying, from the mundane crowds
He raised the rustic to the clouds.
He showed a miser—said: “Behold
His bulky bags that burst with gold!
He counts it over, and the store
Is every day increased by more.”
“O happiness!” the rustic cried:
“What can a fellow wish beside?”
“Ah, wait! until I charm your eyes,”
Said Jupiter, “from fallacies.”
He looked again, and saw the breast
Like a rough ocean—ne’er at rest:
Fear, guilt, and conscience gnawed the heart;
Extortion ever made it smart—
It seemed as if no sunlit gleam
Could brighten it in thought or dream.
“Ah! may the gods,” he cried, “reject
My prayer for gold, and comfort wreckt:
But see yon minister of state,
And the gay crowd who proudly wait!”
“A second time I charm your eyes,”
Said Jove, “from mortal fallacies.”
He looked again, and saw a breast
Gnawed by corruption, wanting rest:
He saw him one time drunk with power,
Tottering upon Ambition’s tower;
Then, seized with giddiness and fear,
Seeing his downfall in his rear,
“O Jupiter!” the rustic said,
“Give me again my plough and spade.”
But Jupiter was not contented:
The rustic’s griefs he still resented.
So he deployed before his sight
The lawyer’s and the soldier’s plight;
The miseries of war and law,
The battle−field and legal flaw.
“O Jupiter!” the rustic said,
“Restore me to the plough and spade.”
Then Jupiter: “You mortals blunder:
There is no happiness in thunder;
For happiness, to nought confined,
Is found in the contented mind:
Go home again, and be contented,
Nor grumble more like one demented.”
Then Jupiter, to aid the clown,
Where he had found him put him down.
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